Association Memberships Beneficial to Students and Young Professionals

03-29-2023 09:46 AM
Esri Contributor
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The Esri Young Professionals Network (YPN) has a vast array of resources to help young pros hone their GIS skills and connect with others in their industry. Some of these resources include access to training, professional certifications, events, networking opportunities, and more. Among those resources includes the unique chance to join Associations through their memberships.


What are ‘Associations’ exactly?


Associations can generally be defined as a group of persons that share common interests in a particular industry or profession. These groups want to focus on enhancing their knowledge and networking skills in a particular field, in this case, geographic information systems (GIS). What is great about GIS associations for young pros, is that there is an enormous amount of experienced professionals who want to share their knowledge with you.

These GIS associations are easy to join and make the process streamlined for you. The basic information you need to share to get started is your name, email, organization, and title. Additional information could be required, depending on which Association you are looking into.


What are some of the top GIS Associations for Young Pros or students?



The Urban and Regional Information Systems Association’s (URISA) mission is to provide professional education and training, a vibrant and connected community, advocacy for geospatial challenges and issues, resources, and more. URISA promotes excellence in GIS and engages geospatial professionals throughout their careers.

URISA offers an assortment of memberships for you to choose from which include Professional, Young Professional, Student, and more.

Through your membership, you will get access to professional education & training, access to various resources like newsletters and publications, and the ability to make meaningful connections, and access to mentors. There are also professional development opportunities, increased visibility, as well as a new perspective to allow for new ideas and possibilities!

They have an annual conference GIS-Pro geared towards the professional development of people in geospatial careers and include many workshops, socials, and sessions for students, young professionals, and seasoned GIS professionals.



The American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) is a scientific association whose mission is to advance knowledge and improve understanding of mapping sciences to promote the responsible applications of photogrammetry, remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS), and supporting technologies.

A membership with ASPRS will grant you access to a PE&RS (monthly journal) subscription, discounted professional certification fees, discounted registration fees for ASPRS conferences, and more.

Their student membership costs $50 USD annually.

Their individual memberships cost $150 USD annually.



The American Association of Geographers (AAG) provides students, partners, and educators with resources to help them as they develop careers, learn how to professionally network, and more. The association aims to bring together members of the global geographic and GIS community. They have an annual conference that includes mentoring and career tracks.

Their student membership costs $49 USD for Graduate students and $38 USD for Undergraduate students.  

Their individual membership costs vary based on your annual income. You can view the membership costs here.

AAG also offers year-round internships for the spring, summer, and fall semesters. Interns have the opportunity to participate in AAG programs, events like the Annual AAG meeting, and more. As an intern, you will also receive a monthly stipend.



The United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) is an educational nonprofit focused on geospatial intelligence and developing a GEOINT community within academia, industry, and more. This association provides programs and events and uplifts its community by promoting innovation and specialties.

Their student membership and young professional memberships cost $35 USD for one year, $100 for three years, and $157 for five years. Although, there are a variety of membership packages offered based on industries.

They also offer a year-long internship as well as scholarships. Their working groups are held virtually and provide opportunities to meet with professionals to connect and further the GEOINT tradecraft.



The International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS) is a large association spanning the entire globe and is made up of a Congress, General Assembly, Council, Financial Commission, Technical Commission, and Sustaining Members Committee. This association is focused on the development of international cooperation with regard to remote sensing and photogrammetry.

Visit their website to learn more about their individual and organizational memberships. Note: individual memberships are free of charge.


What is in it for you?


The benefits are bountifully in your favor! There is a wealth of knowledge that you can gain from working closely with your peers and various mentors.

In addition to the helpful peer-to-peer or mentor-to-mentee relationship, are various opportunities to get a head start on internships and careers. The active Association communities provide ways to learn about new approaches, develop professional skills, special grants for research, and more.

Events and conferences are other benefits that one can look forward to when joining Associations. You may see event discounts related to your Association membership, and even be made aware of events that you might not have known about, through your network. Not only will you be able to represent your association at these events, but you’ll get the chance to connect with other professionals in your industry.


How to get started?


Sign up! There are free options to join, as well as membership discounts for students and professionals. You can also connect with a peer or mentor in the GIS industry to ask which association they recommend joining.

Another really* good way to get started is to connect with members of the Esri YPN team. The team is dedicated to helping young pros in GIS get a leg-up in their careers. Learn about Esri YPN, and its benefits, and sign up to get connected with Esri team members, and the Associations that we collaborate with.


Are you a member of any of the Associations listed? Want your Association to better collaborate with Esri YPN? Let us know in the comments!